Saturday, October 22, 2011

Flower's Halloween Fashion Show

It turns out that not only is Flower a champion snuggler and a circus-dog in the making she's a kind-hearted little lady with a taste for flamboyant couture. When she heard that Tucker Tells All had donated $55 in our name to her most favorite rescue in the world she decided it was time for foster momma to send a little goodwill out into the blogosphere too and came up with a plan to sneak in a little fashion show while we're at it.

I finished off Flower's Halloween costume this morning and she thinks she's the bees knees! While she'd be very happy to go trick and treating with me and Bilbo (hey, if a girl's gonna do a trick then there'd better be a treat too, right? None of this trick or a treat malarkey), secretly Flower is hoping that her ready-to-go costume will catch someone's eye so that she can spend the holiday with her new family. And lets face it, Billy's costume is currently just a pile of craft supplies and a sketchy drawing so he'll probably embarrass her anyway.

In the meantime, she's building up the good karma with a little competition! We're wondering how many of our blog friends are working on a costume for halloween - maybe you reckon you look almost as cute as Flower-Chihuahua? How would you like the chance to put it to the test? Here are three easy steps to win a yummy treat for your pup and some tasty $$$ for your favorite rescue:

1. Email your favorite Halloween pup photo to - don't forget to tell us a bit about the pooch and the rescue you're competing for (deadline for submissions, October 31).
2. Like our facebook page where we'll be posting all the competition entries as they come in.
3. Share your pup's photo with your friends and get them to like it - the photo with the most "likes" at midnight on November 2 is the winner!

What's the prize?

If there are up to five entries, the winning pooch gets $25 to donate to their chosen rescue. If there are more than five that goes up to $50. Now, the first photo in the album will be Mademoiselle Flower, but the only thing she's competing for is a forever home. So for every time someone shares her photo on their wall we'll add 50 cents to the prize AND donate 50 cents to One Tail at a Time, up to $25 each.

That's a total of $75 to the winner's choice and $25 to Flower's rescuers.

The winning dog will also receive one of Flower's favorite treats, an antler chew. She likes to steal the giant size from Billy but there smaller versions for the less confused little pups out there too!

Giving away all $100 is a bit of a tall order for our little blog and very new facebook page so we're going to need your help to spread the word and get lots of your handsome pups up there. Billy's secretly hoping that no one enters cos then he gets to eat all the treats himself and I get a new pair of wellie boots so he can tramp around in the mud more often. But I think Flower would be a bit sad if no one joined her fashion show!

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Good, the Bad & the Ugly: A Round-Up

This was originally a weekend round-up and then somehow it became Friday! Where did the time go? So here are the highs and lows of the week:

The Good
One Tail at a Time has some very exciting new Billy logo "I love my rescue dog" t-shirts on sale. I'll post a link once they're up on the site but for now you'll have to make do with a teaser photo.

(At this point the caption should really read "My Rescue Dog loves chicken and refuses to wake up from his nap without it, at which point the squirming makes snapping a self-portrait with an iphone kinda impossible for the lady holding the snacks" but that's just not as catchy on a t-shirt.) I picked up Billy for some alone time on Saturday and we a took lovely three hour walk to Insights Tattoo Studio where OTAT was holding an event so that we could pick up a t-shirt.

It was settling-up time for my baseball bet so I emptied out the jar and marched the contents off to one of the board members. Setting aside a dollar at a time is such an easy way to manage your giving and it was very satisfying to hand over $109 without making a dent in my current bank balance. Grab a jar and give it a whirl!

Tomorrow is Pit Bull Awareness day so go and give the bully in your life a giant squeeze and a smooch. If you're in the D.C. area and don't have anyone to smoosh then you're in luck. Love and a Six Foot Leash is sponsoring an adoption special on four hand-picked wonderful pooches. Check it out and share with your friends.

Alfred and Bruce did some serious snuggling towards the end of their stay which is great progress for them given that usually proximity = play. I attribute this to my excessive laziness which means they had a sterling role model in couch lounging.

As fond as I am of the dynamic duo, I was very happy to get my own Bilbo back on Tuesday morning and I picked up foster Flower later that day. Having Bilbo back is definitely a "good" but I have mixed feelings about the little miss. Much as I adore her, I can't believe the little nugget hasn't got a home of her own yet.

In the middle of a very busy week (see here & here) I somehow managed to miss the news that we'd won Tucker Tells All's comment-a-thon. They very kindly donated $55 to One Tail at a Time in our name, which we're thrilled about. Flower was inspired to pay it forward so check back here tomorrow for her grand plan!

The Bad
I have no idea where my camera charger is so all photos are iphone snapshots. My camera's not that fancy anyway so it isn't the hugest loss of quality but I do have a tendency to play with the settings on my iphone so you could get some pretty odd shots until I find the charger.

Handsome Bill goes Hipstamatic
As mentioned above, the cutest little dancing chihuahua in the world still hasn't found a home. Now that the sun has come out again (the past few days in Chicago have been vile!) I'm planning on taking her out and about further afield to see if she can charm some passers-by. It's starting to get a bit chilly and she's not too keen on the cold so she'll also be sporting a snazzy new coat, especially since, to add to her homeless state, the poor little peanut has a touch of the sniffles too.

Billy is still mildly scabby so, although it's by no means as bad as it was, it seems another vet trip may be in our future if he doesn't clear up properly soon. Sigh.

The Ugly
Oh Alfred. He does like to have stuff in his mouth - a blanket, a bone, a leash, a limb...

I managed to last a whole week without getting him into a situation which demanded a "game" of leash tug but a poorly chosen route came back to bite me on Sunday. I was out with both pooches and carelessly walked past the house with the two giant mastiffs. The territorial beasties promptly charged the fence and I got a bit tangled up in Bruce's leash and failed to whisk my two off quickly enough. The excitement was all a bit too much for the big-headed lug who decided to grab at his own leash and exert every last ounce of his strength to pulling me off my feet. Luckily or unluckily the leash was around my waist at the time so, while it was rather painful, I didn't lose hold of either pup. We put on quite a show for the neighborhood. As Alfred had worked his way up to the loop that was around my waist, it looked rather like he was attempting to disembowel me. At first my response was very poor and I was terribly frazzled and snappy (I had Bruce in my other hand and he started to leap onto Alfred to try and make him behave). When someone called over to see if I was ok I quickly realized that I had to bring down the excitement a few notches and after calming myself, Alfred eventually lost interest and took a seat. I got off pretty lightly in the end and the only injuries suffered by any of us were a few bruises here and there, including this rather splendid 8-incher on my leg.

Since I finished with the bad news, you should probably go and like us on facebook for much more perky pupdate and cute pics!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Educating with Bruce

For at least the first few days of their visit I decided to walk Bruce Wayne and Alfred separately while I got used to their different ways of viewing the world. On one of Bruce's solo flights he helped out with the mission to educate the neighborhood.

Our first stop was saying hi to some kids who called out to us as we passed. Bruce helped me to explain the way that dogs like to say hello and we talked about why you shouldn't run up and pat a strange dog on the head. He was feeling a bit shy so we showed the kids that you have to let the dog decide if he wants to come and be petted rather than trying to grab at him! As my Billy will often get antsy and barky if I stand around chatting too long, it was great to have the option of talking with the children for as long as they were interested, while Bruce was a perfect gentleman.

On our way home we were charged by two loose dogs and I have to confess we popped into a neighbor's yard and shut the gate while I made sure no harm was intended. I recognized the two and they'd clearly escaped from their yard a couple of blocks north of where we were. The male was disposed to be a bit pushy but Bruce had decided not to take offense so we ventured out and Bruce acted as our pied piper to lead them back home. I managed to scoop them both through the gate and shut them back in and two of the family popped their head out as I did so. I'm not sure they'd even realized that the two had escaped but while they were in a grateful mood I said hi and managed to drop some hints about making sure their new little female was spayed. The last thing we need in our neighborhood is an intact pit running free.

I can be excruciatingly shy at times so screwing up the courage to keep approaching people to chat about their dogs can be tricky. Bruce has been a great little helper for starting conversations. When he's not around I've discovered that my best motivation is actually you guys! Now that I've laid out my goals in public its a lot trickier to chicken out of doing the right thing. When I saw this sign on a walk with Billy and Flower last week I decided I had to swing by.

Sure enough, one of my neighbors had ten english mastiff puppies at a yard sale. Sigh. I dropped the pooches off home and headed back to chat about spay/neuter. Whether she was just trying to fob me off or if they're actually thinking about it, the daughter told me they were thinking of having their pair fixed. When I got home I followed up with an email list of low-cost spay/neuter options so lets keep our fingers crossed that they go through with it.

Thanks for helping me screw up the courage to go and talk to them!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Perfect Friday News!

Oh poor Bruce Wayne.

His big brother gets a long post all to himself and Bruce has to wait and wait for one of his own. Then, just as I'm going to get myself in gear and tell you about his adventures in the hood he gets completely upstaged!

I used to have a pair of girls and an Italian Greyhound as downstairs neighbors. As far as neighbors go, they weren't terrible but the persistent 3am weekday parties got a bit exhausting and they used to leave poop and empty beer cans lying in the backyard. Ick. They moved out a little while ago and the landlord did some painting and put in a new closet and then started to look for new renters. Being the helpful tenant that I am (how else do you think I persuaded a landlord who only wanted little dogs to let me move in with a Bilbo and string of fosters?!) I put up the craigslist posting for him and started to spread the word.

My reward for being helpful? The BEST neighbors ever!

(Well, we don't get the two wee ones too, but I'm too excited to go searching
for photos and just poached the first one I found on facebook with all three)

Billy's adorable fostermom, Kelly, is moving in with her sheltie Izzy and a handsome ambassadog you may have heard of, Fifty the two-legged pitbull. Billy may die of excitement as he loves Kelly and I am still doing a wild happy dance over striking neighbor gold like that.

Even Alfred got so excited that he ate a hole in one of my pillows. I've been meaning to try out some applique so I guess he just picked the pillow I'm going to experiment with.

P.S. Don't forget to check back tomorrow for "Educating with Bruce" or he'll never forgive me for stealing his limelight.

P.P.S. Like us on facebook for lots more cutesy pooch pictures and all the latest doggy news.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Powerwalking with Alfred

I always love to watch the dogs walk when we're out and about. They each have their different quirks and gaits that say so much about their characters: Buster's old-man dignity, slightly stiff-legged yet sometimes prancing like a puppy; Billy, lithe and long, wiggling his big bottom and charging ahead to find the good smells; feisty foster Flower dances along on her toes, bouncing on her hind legs when we hit a street corner and chasing squirrels that are barely smaller than she is herself.

Alfred's walk exudes power with every step. He's wildly, frantically eager when he first steps out the door, barely containing his desire to charge through the world at full speed. But even on the calmer return home it's incredible to watch the muscles ripple along his back and see the spring in his powerful hind legs.

Spending time with Alfred is a forceful reminder of the animal in our beloved pets. It can be easy to forget that the dogs we smooch and dress up and talk to have big teeth and instincts that are often at odds with a confusing human world.

While it's fun to talk about Bruce's superhero role in gaining a brother, reading between the lines of even the most light-hearted version of the story, its not hard to recognize that Alfred didn't get the best start in life. Had he been tied to a different fence, Alfred simply would not be here today. Even if he'd fallen into other well-meaning hands, Alfred would have dismally failed any temperament test he was given at a shelter.

Watching this big lug with a clown-face, it's easy to see the dog that he perhaps could have been. You can see his capacity for tolerance in his play with his little brother. He simply gazed at me in bemusement this morning when I broke into laughter at the sight of him just standing around while Bruce paddled around on his back with his front paws.

Alfred is the dog humans have made, and so there are two of him. When the world overwhelms him, he may bark, growl and chew on your arm or he may be found in his crate sucking on his blanket and whimpering.

One moment I am a treacherous woman who has taken a few too many seconds to put his food bowl down and deserving of a serious warning. Another, I am the lovely lady with chicken treats who must be showered with slobbery kisses.

Perhaps leaning over too close to him to open a door is a dire threat and I must be scared away. Or maybe I have a snuggly lap that is the perfect fit for a giant head, nudged under my arm for a good cuddle.

I do not know how the first dog was created. I'm not sure I want to. The second comes from the perseverance and love of a wonderful couple. I doubt I can understand just how trying the past year must have been for the two of them. The trials of rescuing a big-headed dog even warranted a mention in the beautiful wedding vows they read yesterday. Alfred is not the easiest dog even now, however lovable, but he has come a very long way since landing on their doorstep. If anyone can bring out the best of him, they'll succeed. They didn't really choose to have Alfred on their hands, but, while any adopter can claim to have saved a life, few have done so in quite so immediate a fashion. He turned up, he needed them, and they answered that call.

One Tail at a Time is celebrating anti-heroes this month - all the three-legged, one-eyed, chewing, mangy, anxious, sickly, aggressive, garbage devouring monsters that we love anyway for all their amazing dogginess. The human world can be confusing and overwhelming for these underdogs and it is our job to teach them and lead them through it. But let's remember to make space for the animal in each of them, and reserve a little extra patience for the confused souls like Alfred who might never quite find their way. Its our fault they got lost in the first place.

Excuse any typos. I have a big-headed dog snuggling against my arm and that's his spot for as long as he likes.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

To the batcave!

Shout that out in the vicinity of my apartment and this dynamic duo will come running:

Bruce Wayne and Alfred's mom and dad are getting married tomorrow so they've come to stay while the newly wedded parents jet off on honeymoon. And yes, "to the batcave" is their recall command! Here's their story.

Once upon a time there was Bruce Wayne, a teensy bundle of puppy from PAWS Chicago.

Well, with ears like that, how could he be anyone other than Batman? Sure enough as he grew up, passing his obedience class with flying colors, it became clear that he could give even foster Superdog Levi a run for his money.

Mom and Dad thought they would have just one furkid but superhero Bruce had other ideas and when he heard the mean men driving by in a storm early one morning with his super hearing, he used his special mind powers to make sure they stopped on his block. Sure enough, when mom dashed out to an appointment after breakfast, she spotted an unknown pooch tied to the neighbor's fence. When she came back soon afterwards, he was still there! Mom started knocking on doors and it turned out that nobody knew where the bedraggled guy had come from. In no time at all, he was drying off with some tasty breakfast on the back porch.

Bruce's mom called everyone she could think of to try and find somewhere safe for the skinny boy to go, but there was no room for another big-headed lug in the overloaded system. So she agreed that he could be Bruce's temporary sidekick while he looked for a forever home and called him Alfred. Clever Bruce Wayne started teaching Alfred ways to be adorable to try and win over mom and dad.

For good measure, as Alfred fattened up on his yummy new diet, they concocted a plan for him to be just naughty enough for no one else to want him. Eventually Alfred and Bruce's plan succeeded and mom and dad agreed that he could stay!

Time to get comfy

Unfortunately Alfred and Billy aren't really the best of buddies which means its going to be an interesting week. Bilbo, Buster and Clover (and for some of the time, Flower) are going to be sleeping at Dogdad's house, while Alfred and Bruce stay at my place. We'll switch apartments for a night or two so I can get some snuggles from my own guys and there will be lots of moving around during the daytime. I have a feeling I'm going to get a LOT of exercise over the next week and a half. Luckily, Dogdad lives just 12 minutes walk away so that's an easy trip when I need to take the pooches out during the day. I'll sometimes drop Alfred and Bruce off at their house if I need some space at home to do chores or catch up on work - that's a bit more of a leg-stretch, at 35 minutes walk away. I'll also be walking the two of them separately to begin with as Alfred is a very, very strong boy! He and Bruce play together very well, but they can be a bit rough so they are usually separated in the house, even if someone's around. Its a bit trickier with my apartment layout but I think I've got a good plan of action set up - I'll let you know how it goes!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Coming to a blog near you...

For one week only (well ok, a week and a few days), special guests!

Check back tomorrow to find out who the visitors are and in the meantime, a couple of hints:

Oooo, the suspense.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Two years ago today I signed the paperwork to make Bilbo mine all mine! Unfortunately, as I just arrived back from my trip yesterday afternoon, I didn't really have time to prepare a proper celebration for the little man.

We did have a lovely walk in the park which was full of wonderful autumn colors in the sunshine.

One of Bilbo's favorite water fountains was broken and he couldn't quite decide whether he was thirsty enough to overcome his dread of getting wet!

Being the terrible dogmom that I am, I didn't even remember to bring some birthday treats in my pocket for the walk. Luckily Billy never forgets that he is a star and is always happy to pose for the puperazzi.

I did manage to pop to Soggy Paws on my way back from running errands so he received plenty of yummy adoptaversary gifts.

I was a bit sad that I didn't manage to get a fancy pup cake but I suppose that's more exciting for the humans than the pups. From Bilbo's point of view a cow trachea, desiccated pigs heart, chunk of antler and shriveled duck necks constitute a fairly impressive spread.

Still, it did make me think that I should separate his adoptaversary from his birthday and give him another date to celebrate. So Billy's official birthday (kinda like the queen really) is going to be six months from now on April 6. Hopefully I'll be able to pull together a proper pooch party for the boy complete with pupcakes - and now I don't have to say that he's FIVE for a few months yet!

In the meantime, I did whip up a dapper hat for him from some fabric I had lying around in the house.

Now he's ready to party! Not to mention being suitably attired to wish Skye a happy birthday. I think he's rather pleased to share his adoptaversary date with a pretty pitty girl. What a flirt.

And while we're talking milestones, my last blog post was my 100th! So I decided to set up a facebook page for the blog where I can post lots more photos of the handsome guy. Like us!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...